Cougars jam the gym for wrestling victory


“Cougar Nation” came together again on Dec. 19 to “jam the gym” for a varsity wrestling match and alumni night at John F. Kennedy High School.

Craig Papach, Kennedy’s athletic coordinator, said school officials were expecting a big crowd in the gym that evening, which housed the match, ceremonies honoring alumni and school spirit activities for the first of three “Jam the Gym” nights this winter.

School officials explained that “Jam the Gym” events feature a collection of students, faculty and community members packing into one place for one team on one night and for one nation –– “Cougar Nation.” Papach said that the student government sponsors activities designed to raise school spirit at these matches or games.

The first “Jam the Gym” of the academic year was a varsity wrestling match at which Kennedy defeated Oceanside 64-15. The Cougars emerged victors in all but three bouts, with winners including Ben Sather, Danile Elegante, Robert Person, Tyler Smith, Daniel Arkow, Richard Luxmore, Matthew Shane, Andrew Coleman, Hunter Zalud and Austin Miller. Seven Kennedy wrestlers pinned their opponents.

Former grapplers were also honored, as the school hosted an alumni celebration at the match.

The next “Jam the Gym” night at Kennedy, whose student body comprises Bellmore and Merrick students, is slated for Jan. 8. The boys’ varsity basketball team will take on Great Neck South at 7 p.m.